The return rate on these kinds of emails must be pretty splendoriffic given the language used. I used to wonder how much more they’d earn if they’d hire themselves a good copywriter … but I’m also glad they don’t.
The privacy-aware side of me was a bit freaked out the first time my phone decided to let me know that if I left for work right now I’d probably be on time.
It knew, though it didn’t know why, that I tended to do a weird morning routine. Loop through the school parking lot at 7:10, drive to the grocery store at 7:15 and park, do a loop-de-loop around the school parking lot again at 8:10, before finally heading into work by 9:00. Fuh-reak-y.
But carrying around a cell phone is a walking, talking, data-collecting elephant to begin with. What’s a little more data? That useful part of it makes the data and usability nerd in me happy.
Hyper-Realtime Traffic Info
I got to thinking about the head to head race I had this Easter Sunday. I was thinking about it as I was running errands at lunch, my usual use of that hour. Did I have time, I asked Waze, to skedaddle west eight miles and south ten miles to pick up paperwork from a medical office?
Waze assured me in it’s non-judgemental way that I’d be held up by rail crossing closures and heavy lunch time traffic. And, oh yeah, a huge festival (one of what, 50 this year?) that had a major arterial road blocked off for at least half a mile. I might make it ….
What it didn’t tell me, but I remembered in time, is that the office closes every day for lunch. I put that errand off for another day.
But what if Waze was hooked into NAP data, too?
I gave Waze the address of the place I wanted to go by sending it information I dug by hand from my contacts list. But what if I were able to send that info automatically? And put hours into my contact information for someone? Say, that the office opens at 9am and closes from 12:30 to 1:45 for lunch? We could Waze could read that, too, and thenlaugh at me tell me I was attempting a fool’s errand.
Or even better; if Waze was hooked into Google’s NAP data, with open and shut times? I wonder if it even supports “siesta” times? It’d be darn helpful if it did.
I’m a little bit of a usability and data architecture nerd. I hate it when an interface doesn’t work well, or there’s information stuck some place that can’t get some place else. When it all comes together, it’s a joy.
But that interest is secondary to my ingrained competitive spirit.
Anything you can do, I can do better …
Picture a quiet Easter Sunday afternoon. I’m in the car with a friend and we’ve got our near-matching iPhones at the ready. The goal? Find out what stores are open that carry the perfect water shoes for knee-deep island landings. The realgoal? Beat the other guy at finding out what stores are open.
One of us used an Apple app, the other a Google app. Both of us got the same basic information … Name of the store, distance, time to drive, address, website, phone number, hours …
But the Google app’r had superior NAP data. This is something Google very very recently expanded, and is very very useful. While the Apple app’r was still making phone calls, the Google app’r was ready to go, armed with some pretty awesome local and holiday-specific info.
I’m glad this is something businesses can use, and big national businesses are using well (or poorly) …
It saved the Google app’r a lot of dialing to businesses that were not open, driving to businesses that were not open, and aggravation. We went straight to the store we wanted — and yes, dear reader, we did find the perfect water shoes.
Note: All images are simulated because we were too busy squaring off forgot to take screenshots right then.